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Films have been around a long time, probably a lot longer than you think. The first moving picture was taken way back in 1882 by Étienne-Jules Marey, while the oldest surviving film, the Roundhay Garden Scene, was shot in 1888.

Of course, movie making has changed immeasurably since those bygone days. Nowadays, practically anyone with a mobile phone – and there are over six billion mobile phone subscribers on this planet – can make their own garden scene. Happily, mobile phones are also being used to film much more than tea time frolics. One organization doing this brilliantly is World Film Collective (WFC).

On a mission to make a difference

World Film Collective, brainchild of filmmaker Alice Bragg, has a very simple mission: to teach young people, with limited access to employment, education or training, the craft of mobile phone movie making. Once the films have been produced, they help distribute them through new media networks to audiences of thousands across the globe. Inspired by theatrical pioneers such as Augusto Boal from Brazil, who used theatre to promote social change with his Theatre of the Oppressed, World Film Collective is quite literally changing the world with mobile technology.

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Smartphones for a smart cause

One company helping them accomplish their mission is Nokia. Not only has Nokia been the world’s biggest manufacturer of digital cameras since 2008, but with smartphones like the Nokia 808 PureView, it’s also at the very cutting edge of mobile camera technology. When you combine Nokia’s amazing tech specs with the passion and creativity of World Film Collective, you’re pretty much guaranteed to make waves. The most recent example of their collaboration was for World Aids Day.

World Film Collective

Making mobile movie magic

The challenge: To better inform the people of Cape Town about how to avoid HIV, and how to live with the virus. To do this, the Kaltcha Pioneers, a group of five South African teenagers, were equipped with Nokia 808 PureViews. The task they were given was to create a daily five minute show throughout November, everything from short movies and music videos to discussions and short documentaries. Without mobile technology such a challenge would have been impossible. The Kaltcha Pioneers, however, were a spectacular success. But don’t just take our word for it: check out one of the their short movies, called Private Lives, which gives a unique insight into the everyday life of people living with HIV. 

Marketing for the masses

Making mobile movies is only one part of the challenge. You also need to make sure people see them. The Kaltcha Pioneers mixed local television, Cape Town TV, with social media distribution. Active on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Mxit, they managed to reach over 1.5 million people. What’s more, they’ve carried on using these channels to promote their message and put out new short films. But what exactly encouraged these township kids to start making a difference, using mobile tech to change people’s lives in local communities? Here’s the answer, in their own words.

With organizations like World Film Collective empowering disadvantaged kids around the globe to share their stories, mobile technology can truly change the world. The question is, which stories most need to be told? Let us know your suggestions in the comments below.